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Godless Angel – Harvester of Shadows

Godless Angel
Harvester of Shadows
by Charlotte "Downright Destructive" Lamontagne at 21 April 2015, 9:59 AM

The one-man Death/Thrash machine from Kansas, USA is down to his second album (excluding his EP "Dying Dead Undead Unholy") and hits with a harsh, somber atmosphere. When reading the title ‘‘Harvester of Shadows’’, a myriad of strange images came to my mind. Though inspiring, it filled my mind with anguish and a slight touch of anxiety. With influences such as SLAYER, LAMB OF GOD and CANNIBAL CORPSE - Derek Neilbarger definitely sets high standards of Death Metal heavily caught up to Thrash influences. The blast beats, the galloping bass, the shrieking guitars and the solid raging double pedal are the major elements which contribute to this convulsive madness. With the vomit spewing gutturals, the final product is razor edged filthy.

And so it begins, with long, deep, felt notes immerging from the guitar. The atmosphere is instantly set. With suffering strident shreds, and a gut-feeling of vengeance, the intense percussions start pounding. Like if every instrument was shot with an AK-47, ‘‘Witching Hour At The Gates Of Stull’’ is quite dramatic and memorable. The instrumental is on point, very detailed and polyvalent. There are many thoughts expressed through the music, and great variations of riffing and rhythms. The lead guitar has the role of tearing down these incinerating melodies. ‘‘Containment Breach In Sector 6’’ resembles Technical Death, but could also be associated to SLAYER with the wailing solos and the high-pitched shreds of hell. The growls range from a general low vomiting signature style to a mid-high hurl, cleaner than the ones of most Metal vocalists out there. Most songs are polished up with guitar harmonies (non-melodic, more dramatic), blast beats and bottleneck effects in some solos. Contrasts between slow and rapid rhythms are often brought and teared apart by bass slides. In ‘‘Swarm Feeds’’, the pulsing drum only gives you the envy to rattle in a moshpit.

There is a very present signature style throughout the album with the lead guitar’s strident shreds. It gives a glorious twist, as if the instruments were scraping the sky. The breakdowns are clean, cutting and slaying through the lower frequencies and, really, there is no denying of Derek’s hallucinating talent. The instrumentals are worked up and interpreted with grand versatility. Nothing could better describe this album as compulsive rattling and anger. The first slow song to break the madness is ‘‘Suffering the Wrath of the Goddess’’ with its painful wailings and high-pitched effects. It reminds us shortly of ‘‘Witching Hour…’’, before tearing the ambiance of vengeance with demented powerful poundings of drum. The album as a whole is very concentrated in instrumentals and angry, dizzy riffs. Every song, one by one, is an indisputable epic march to war, but when put all together, have enormous resemblance: always with a background of drum blast beats and wailings, with the same growl on and on. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s effective: the record is a psychotic masterpiece and deserves recognition. Some songs, quite short, may be more repetitive (‘‘Shadows Beneath The Skin’’), but other pieces distinct themselves with the non-melodic low-tone (dropped down instruments) contrasting the melodic higher tones and the SLAYER-like solos. With just enough echo and crying guitars, some solos have a direct influence from the glory days of the Thrash formation. I’m thinking of ‘‘To Shred The Soul’’, for example.

On a fade out of wailing and flown away shreds, the experience takes end. You are left there sitting in your chair, stunned by this man’s talent. His versatility, his polyvalence is amazing and will leave you in awe. With the taste of violence on your lips and the intense images in mind, you think of these hurtful, manful growls. You repeat the somber and deranged lyrics, you air-drum away. GODLESS ANGEL’s ‘‘Harvester of Shadows’’ is a spirited, energy-oriented record. It’s madness in a nutshell, it’s technique played with heart – the interpretation is grandiose. Every emotion is communicated through these rough, burning shreds. It’s an album of power, dominance, suffering, and vengeance. It kills your morals and amplifies your gut feelings. While some songs may be harder to differentiate because of the similar structure (or signature style, like I’ve said earlier), the dedication of this man to his art is undeniable and grand enough to forgive it all. The influences here are unique, as they blend modern Thrash to the rough techniques of Death metal and the raw sound of pain. It’s toxic, it’s filthy, it’s quite what you need.

4 Star Rating

1. Witching Hour At The Gates Of Stull
2. Containment Breach In Sector 6
3. The Swarm Feeds
4. Samhain
5. Suffering The Wrath Of The Goddess
6. Summoning Darkness
7. Shadows Beneath The Skin
8. To Shred The Soul
9. Disemboweling The Deranged
Derek Neilbarger – Vocals, guitars, bass
Record Label: Inverse Records


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